Minister of Defense Ambrose Lufuma says his ministry will soon liaise with line ministries, including the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises to allow former street who graduate from ZNS skills centres to access empowerment.
Mr Lufuma says this is because the new dawn government attaches great importance to the program as it is one of the ways to empower youths.
He said this at a graduation ceremony of 314 former street kids who graduated from Zambia National Service (ZNS) Chiwoko Skills training center in Kasenengwa district, yesterday.
“ Government remains committed to address the plight of youths in the country for they have over the years faced a little if challenges, including unemployment.
“ This is why we have made it a priority to equip youths with skills that will sustain them,” he explained.
The Minister has consequently directed the ZNS command to identify units across the 10 provinces where more centers can be created in order to increase the enrollment capacity.
“To increase the enrollment capacity government seeks to establish a center in every province. As we speak, the third center in Chishimba, Northern province is ready to take up its first intake,” he noted.
The Minister all this is because government wants to grant every underprivileged youth an opportunity to apply themselves.
He also announced that all the 314 graduates will be taken up for a 12-month internship and mentorship program in the defense wings.
Mr Lufuma further announced that over 2000 youths have been trained in Chiwoko and Kitwe since the program of training street kids started in 2005.
“Thank you for spearheading the program amidst challenges that include inadequate accommodation, transport, among other. We will work to reduce and eliminate these challenges by according them the attention they deserve,” he said.
And ZNS Deputy Commandant Major Reuben Mwewa said the graduates have fully been grilled to compete on the market.
“Youths graduating from our centers have the necessary skills and are able to compete with those graduating from other skills institutes countrywide,” he explained.
He added that it is gratifying that the youths will be attached to defense forces for 12 months internship and mentorship programs,” he added.
Further, the Deputy Commandant said the program resonates with government’s position on having defense wings as strategic developmental partners.
“Apart from contributing to the realization of government’s development agenda coupled with the importance attached to youth empowerment, the program is strategic in ridding the streets of potential crime peddlers,” he explained.
The 314 graduates commenced their skills training towards the end of 2020, as the fifth intake.